15 September 2004: Bush, Kerry Go Head to Head on Science, Discovery News
The respected science journal Nature posed 15 questions to President George W. Bush and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on key science issues.
7) NATURE: Do you think the United States should send astronauts to the moon or Mars in the next 10 to 15 years? If so, why send humans instead of robots? If not, what is the purpose of the space shuttle and space station?
BUSH: "In January, I announced my vision for the future of America's space exploration program. As we complete our work on the International Space Station, we are developing a new manned exploration vehicle to explore beyond our orbit. This vehicle will be tested by 2008 and will conduct its first manned mission no later than 2014. America will return to the moon as early as 2015 and no later than 2020, and use it as a foundation for human missions beyond the moon. We will begin with robotic missions, and manned missions will follow. An extended human presence on the Moon could reduce the costs of further exploration."
KERRY: "Today, thanks to decades of public investment in space exploration activities, a rotating international team of astronauts is living and working in space on the International Space Station, a dozen Americans have walked on the moon, we have rovers exploring the surface of Mars and an armada of spacecraft continues to explore our Solar System. NASA is an invaluable asset to the American people and must receive adequate resources to continue its important mission of exploration. However, there is little to be gained from a space initiative that throws out lofty goals, but fails to support those goals with realistic funding. John Edwards and I are committed to increasing funding for NASA and space exploration because it not only makes critical contributions to our economy, it also expands our understanding of the world we live in."